Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Research you can eat!

I decided to do a little different kind of research for my book The Presence of Shadows.

My main characters are based on Ethiopian Jews, so I have a few of Ethiopian foods mentioned in my book.

Well, I've never had Ethiopian food so I decided to make Injera from scratch.  Injera is a flat bread that is used both as a plate and eating utensil. It's kind of like sour dough in that you mix the Teff flour with water and let it ferment.  Now here is the tricky part, almost all of the recipe's I found online had differences in recipe and method.  Some of the variations included using yeast to speed up the fermentation process. Some added more flour after letting it set and others did not. Some use only Teff flour and others also use All Purpose Flour.

So not being a very patient person who really wanted to try this food that my characters consume on a daily basis, I waited 2 days for the fermentation to take place.  Don't ask me if that was long enough, I have no clue, but it did smell funny and I had the predicted air bubbles in the finished product.

Last night I made the injera and served it to my husband and four kids for dinner. What an experience. You cook injera like a crepe. I did have to tweak the recipe that I had chosen to use by adding more teff flour and I also added some all purpose flour to the fermented mixture. The "pancakes" are dark brown and smell a little like grass. It has a very earthy/grassy taste, and is spongy. The more I ate the less weird tasting it was. We grilled some pork chops with lots of spices on it, since the wat, a stew they would wrap in it is very spicy. The end judgment was that it was alright, not out of this world, but not gag and spit it out either. Two of my kids wouldn't eat it, but that isn't saying too much.

My twelve year old, Cora, wanted to try it with honey and whip cream on it. She got the honey, but no whip cream, and it was yummy. I may have to add that in my book somewhere.
 Over all it was a fun adventure. Now to find a recipe that works the way it's supposed to. I'm definitely going to try making it again. When I do I'll take pictures and post them here. I'm kicking myself for not thinking of that last night.

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